Neil Seeman is one of my favourite eHealth writers and, perhaps, one my favourite essayists period. I find his style quite readable and his insights nearly always thought provoking.
In a recent short essay, Neil takes on one of my favourite topics: the “patient” vs. “consumer” debate.
As you may know from earlier posts, I believe that people act in different “roles” when engaging the healthcare system, sometimes they are a patient under a physician’s care and sometimes they are a consumer seeking advice for a proposed course of treatment for a newly diagnosed disease. I contend that understanding these dual roles in critical when designing eHealth systems that involve the subject of care.
Neil takes an interesting approach to addressing this matter – ask the people to whom these words are applied what they wish to be called. While I like Neil’s approach, the examples that he cites are only ones where I believe the word “patient” is most appropriate. I suggest that we ask people searching google to learn about a medication they have been prescribed or to learn more about the cancer that their Mom was recently diagnosed to have to determine whether these people view themselves as patient or consumer.
If you are looking for well written, easy to read yet thought provoking pieces on eHealth, have a look at Neil Seeman’s work. I don’t always agree with him but I always enjoy reading what he has written.